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Subject: Gregory Dale Smith appointed Senior Conservation Scientist, IMA

Gregory Dale Smith appointed Senior Conservation Scientist, IMA

From: Walter Henry <walterhenr<-at->
Date: Thursday, October 1, 2009
From the IMA press release:

The Indianapolis Museum of Art announced today that it has hired Dr.
Gregory Dale Smith as the Senior Conservation Scientist to lead the
new Conservation Science Laboratory at the IMA. The position was
established through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This grant, which must be matched by $1.5 million within three
years, will enable the IMA to establish a state-of-the-art
conservation science laboratory under the leadership of Smith.

In October 2008, the IMA announced plans to build a Conservation
Science Laboratory to complement its existing expertise in the care
and treatment of works in its collection. The Conservation Science
Laboratory will also augment the IMA's potential as a resource for
training and professional development by helping the IMA to foster
partnerships with universities and corporations involved in central
Indiana's growing role as a hub of the life sciences industry, as
well as establishing scientific research and art conservation
collaborations with major museums worldwide.

  "We are thrilled that Greg is joining the IMA to lead this
   important conservation science initiative. With many new,
   previously unstudied materials being used by artists and
   designers today, we believe that the IMA can contribute to
   significant advancements in the field that will help museums
   preserve cultural heritage for centuries to come," said Dr.
   Maxwell L. Anderson, The Melvin and Bren Simon Director and CEO
   of the IMA. With Greg's unique research background, and his
   already notable contributions to conservation science, we are
   confident we have found the best person to lead this endeavor."

When he assumes his position on December 28, 2009, Smith will lead
the IMA team in establishing a comprehensive plan for outfitting the
laboratory with scientific equipment funded through a previously
announced grant of $2.6 million provided by Lilly Endowment, Inc.
Longer-term goals include hiring a second scientist and implementing
a fellowship program. Smith currently serves as the Andrew W. Mellon
Assistant Professor of Conservation Science at Buffalo State
College, one of only three graduate programs for comprehensive art
conservation training in the United States.

   "The inclusion of this state-of-the-art science laboratory within
    the IMA's world-renowned conservation facility will allow the
    museum to understand better its wide-ranging collections and
    improve its stewardship of the artwork and objects. I am excited
    by the opportunity to lead this new science initiative and to
    initiate a research program to investigate innovative methods
    and new materials for conserving works of art," said Dr. Greg

The IMA's newly expanded conservation resources will support
research and publication by museum conservators, scientists and
curators to continue to build the IMA's reputation as an industry
leader in the fields of conservation, collections care and art
history. Once equipped and fully staffed, the IMA's lab will join an
esteemed group of science labs at other leading arts institutions in
the United States: the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan
Museum of Art, the Harvard Art Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago
and the Getty Conservation Institute.

Gregory Dale Smith, Ph.D.

Smith previously served as the Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor
of Conservation Science at Buffalo State College, one of only three
graduate programs for comprehensive art conservation training in the
United States. He holds a Ph.D. in physical/analytical chemistry
from Duke University and has completed postdoctoral research at the
National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the National
Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New
York, and at University College London.

Smith's research interests include studying condition issues
affecting modern polymers used in art, pigment degradation
processes, and the development and testing of innovative
conservation treatments. He is a member of a working group
participating in a large-scale, long-term collaboration with Tate
(London) and the Getty Conservation Institute (Los Angeles) on the
analysis of modern artists' materials. Smith's academic and
professional career is distinguished consistently throughout with
honors and awards, including a Marshall Scholarship to study in
Britain, National Science Foundation Research Fellowships, and a
Barry M. Goldwater Science Scholarship. He also has performed five
seasons of archaeological fieldwork and archaeometry in Galilee,
Israel serving as field chemist and field supervisor with the
Sepphoris Regional Project, Sepphoris Acropolis Excavation, and the
Cana of the Galilee Project.

Smith has authored numerous articles for journals in the fields of
chemistry and conservation and is a highly sought-after lecturer for
symposia in the field of art conservation. He is a Professional
Associate of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), a member
of the AIC Education and Training Committee, and the Chair of the
AIC Research and Technical Studies Specialty Group.

History of IMA Conservation

The IMA has continually been a leader in museum conservation. In
2007, the IMA became one of the first U.S. art museums to acquire a
digital x-ray unit, which led to a major discovery about the
internal structure of African Songye figures that was previously
unknown. The museum's professional conservation efforts started in
the 1940s, with the museum hiring well known first-generation
American conservators such as Sheldon Keck, James Roth, and Louis
Pomerantz to preserve some of the museum's finest paintings. The
museum became a charter member of the Intermuseum Laboratory in 1952
and incorporated a small, custom-designed conservation laboratory
into the new Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1970. In 1975, the
appointment of a Chief Conservator led to the implementation of the
American Institute for the Conservation of Artistic and Historic
Works ethics and standards for practice and established a
preventative program for collections care.

The conservation department, now occupying 7,700 square feet,
currently has a staff of seven conservators (with specialties in
paintings, paper, objects and textiles), two conservation
technicians, and a half-time digital imaging technician to care for
the museum's collections. Additionally, since 1977, more than 220
institutions or public collections and more than 300 individual
collectors have been clients of the Regional Services Program at the
IMA, which works to help conserve artworks that are not a part of
the Museum's collection. IMA conservators have done other important
work, such as facility surveys, collection surveys and on-site mural
conservation, including the Thomas Hart Benton mural cycle at
Indiana University.

Recently purchased equipment, including an Osiris digital infrared
reflectography (IRR) camera, a Tracer III-V hand-held x-ray
fluorescence (XRF), and a new four-by-five foot suction table with a
humidity dome provide IMA conservators and scientists with crucial
tools to analyze and restore works of art. The IRR camera can see
through layers of paint to the artist's original drawing, as well as
detecting compositional changes and possible restorations that may
not be identified with other methods. Likewise, the XRF unit permits
conservators to quickly perform elemental analysis of an artwork's
surface in a safe and non-destructive manner. Both devices are
portable, allowing them to be taken into the galleries or to other
institutions. The new suction table provides IMA staff with enhanced
ability to treat larger artworks and the ability to perform a
variety of subtle moisture treatments using enclosed vapor that were
previously impossible.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 23:11
                Distributed: Wednesday, October 7, 2009
                       Message Id: cdl-23-11-003
Received on Thursday, 1 October, 2009

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